Sister Simone, who is a nun in the order of the Sisters of Social Service, is best known as the Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic organization that lobbies on economic and social justice issues.
She has become well-known as one of the targets of a Vatican crackdown on American nuns who Rome believes are too eager to disagree with church teachings on sexuality and gender while overemphasizing church teachings on social justice.
Come hear her side.
Sister Simone has been the public face of the “nuns on the bus” who toured the country this summer to draw attention to federal budget proposals that, in the view of the nuns, would harm the poor. She is also an attorney, and represented low-income people for 18 years in California, where she founded a community-based law center. She is fluent in Spanish, and is an accomplished poet.
Shortly before our war with Iraq in 2003, she traveled to Baghdad with several of her sisters to draw attention to the Christians who still lived there and to give witness that warfare was not the best way to solve our conflict with Saddam Hussein. She wrote quite a bit of poetry on that trip, and I leave you with one today:
Let gratitude be the beat of our heart,
pounding Baghdad rhythms, circulating
memories, meaning of the journey.
Let resolve flow in our veins,
fueled by Basra’s destitution, risking
reflective action in a fifteen-second world.Let compassion be our hands,
reaching to be with each other,
all others to touch, hold heal this fractured world.Let wisdom be our feet,
bringing us to the crying need
to friends or foe to share this body’s blood.Let love be our eyes,
that we might see the beauty, see the dream
lurking in the shadows of despair and dread.Let community be our body warmth,
radiating Arab energy to welcome in the foreign
stranger—even the ones who wage this war.Let us remember on drear distant days,
we are a promised Christmas joy
we live as one this tragic gifted life—We are the Body of God!Simone Campbell, SSS